NCF Nation: Kareem Jackson
The SEC has now had five picks in the top 20 of the first round four years in a row.
The first-round proceedings Thursday night reminded us all one more time that how decorated you are at the college level and how many awards you win aren't real important in the eyes of pro scouts.
Take Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson, for instance. He played in the shadow of Javier Arenas all season a year ago. Arenas was a consensus All-American and one of the "stars" of the defense. It was all Jackson could do to earn honorable mention All-SEC status.
Still, he was solid all season as a shutdown cornerback, ran great times in the 40-yard dash and wound up being the fourth defender drafted from the league, going 20th overall to the Houston Texans.
Jackson is another one of those guys who wasn't highly recruited, either. He went to Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy out of school even though he was qualified academically and was committed initially to Vanderbilt until Nick Saban and Alabama jumped on him.
Say this, too, for Jackson. He's supremely confident in his abilities. He turned pro this past season despite Saban telling him he needed another season of college ball.
As for guys who slipped, who would have thought at the end of the regular season last year that Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap wouldn't go in the first round?
At that point, he was being projected as a top 15 pick by all the analysts. But that next week, he was arrested on DUI charges, was suspended for the SEC championship game, and apparently some of his interviews with teams following the season didn't go well.
In Friday night's second and third rounds, one of the SEC guys to watch will be LSU defensive tackle Al Woods. After a so-so college career, Woods really shot up draft boards this offseason with solid workouts.
And who will be the first SEC player to get picked in the second round?
I'll go with Alabama's Terrence Cody, but my dark horse is Ole Miss' Dexter McCluster.
Here's the complete list of SEC first-rounders on Thursday:
- No. 5 -- S Eric Berry, Tennessee, Kansas City Chiefs
- No. 7 -- CB Joe Haden, Florida, Cleveland Browns
- No. 8 -- LB Rolando McClain, Alabama, Oakland Raiders
- No. 18 -- C/G Maurkice Pouncey, Florida, Pittsburgh Steelers
- No. 20 - CB Kareem Jackson, Alabama, Houston Texans
- No. 25 -- QB Tim Tebow, Florida, Denver Broncos
- No. 26 -- DT Dan Williams, Tennessee, Arizona Cardinals
The latest buzz among people close to the situation is that junior cornerback Kareem Jackson will also likely come out.
McClain is a probable top 15 pick. He said Sunday that he has submitted his paperwork to the NFL draft advisory committee, but said he was unaware of what kind of projection he received.
"That's not my focus. We'll deal with it after the game," McClain said.
It had already been reported that Jackson submited his paperwork. He's not a first-rounder, but could go in the second or third rounds. Jackson started all 13 games this season and was second on the team with 12 pass breakups.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The streak is over.
Somebody finally scored against No. 2-ranked Alabama in the first quarter, but the Crimson Tide never really flinched and charged into the second quarter Saturday with a 7-3 lead over Ole Miss.
The Rebels got a 26-yard field goal from Joshua Shene with 5:25 to play, the first points Alabama has allowed in the first quarter all season. Up until that point, the Crimson Tide had outscored their opponents 88-0 in the first quarter.
Alabama wasn't especially sharp in the first quarter, but made a couple of huge plays. The biggest was cornerback Kareem Jackson chasing down Ole Miss freshman tailback Enrique Davis when it looked like Davis was going to score on a long touchdown.
But Jackson never gave up on the play and caught Davis at the Alabama 8 on the tail end of a 62-yard run. The Rebels went backward from there and had to settle for the field goal.
The Crimson Tide's passing game clicked nicely on their scoring drive, as freshman Julio Jones is off to a big start. John Parker Wilson, after being sacked by Greg Hardy on the opening possession of the game, has had more time to throw ever since. He hit freshman Marquis Maze in stride with a 26-yard touchdown pass.
The most entertaining part of that play was Nick Saban absolutely unloading on Maze as he came back to the sideline. Maze was hit with a 15-yard celebration penalty after scoring the touchdown and immediately felt the wrath of Saban.
Ole Miss' Hardy has been quiet after recording his sack during the game's first possession.